When bands become their own tribute bands

My favorite metal band, Queensrÿche, now exists as two bands.  Meet-QUEENSRYCHE-Both-of-Them


It’s a mess.  Despite a rather large anti-Tate/Pro-Wilson bias, this article here does a decent job of detailing the twists and turns of the band’s craziness.  What I find most interesting about the split (other than how much the whole thing resembles a divorce – and considering one of the band members married and then quickly divorced Geoff Tate’s daughter, that couldn’t have helped band dynamics) were the competing visions.  In essence (and despite the fact both versions of the band are releasing new albums), Geoff Tate wanted to keep recording and playing new music, and the rest of the band rather explicitly stated they preferred to play songs from the first five albums (their most popular ones, and their most “metal” ones).  In essence, the debate was over progressing musically or else becoming your own cover/tribute band.

It seems like that step is inevitable.  It seems very few artists have the longevity to keep releasing new music that sells well their entire careers.  Most bands, at some point, start playing their own oldies (even if they may throw in a new tune here or there – I saw America in concert once, and in the two hour concert, they played a total of two songs that were “new-ish” and the rest were their oldest and greatest hits).

I have no real insight on this topic.  I just found it somewhat interesting.  It’ll be interesting to see which version of the band actually prevails in court over the legal right to the name.

10 thoughts on “When bands become their own tribute bands

  1. They haven’t had anything good since Promised Land in 1994. I saw them in concert a few years ago (small venue in Salt Lake–only 1000 tickets sold, although demand was significantly bigger than that) and was disappointed that they played all of Mindcrime II and so very little of their good stuff. They have five great albums to play from, and yet they chose to play an abundant amount of the more recent mediocre stuff. Not nearly as good of a show as it should have been.

    In any case, the writing talent left the band a long time ago, and very few fans like anything post-1994. They keep on putting out new albums, but the classic progressive metal they put out between 1984 and 1994 is their lasting legacy. One or two bad albums is excusable, but they keep on producing bad album after bad album. Better to be their own cover band than to continue to put out crap.

    I do love their early stuff. I consider them the original progressive metal band, and they laid a lot of the groundwork for bands like Dream Theater, Fates Warning, Lacuna Coil, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and Savatage.

  2. I mostly agree with Tim. The last time I saw them they decided to do a 30th anniversary thing so we got a few songs from the back catalog…and then a whole bunch of American Soldier. The old stuff is way better and I wished they’d played more of it.

    I also feel like the split isn’t about playing old tunes or playing new tunes…it’s about wrestling creative control back from an overbearing and increasingly immature Geoff Tate.

    But either way, they’ve been kind of a pointless self-cover band for a while now. They haven’t really had an okay album for more than ten years and they haven’t had a truly great one since Promised Land. I think this bizarre little split can only be a good thing.

  3. See, I really disagree on “nothing good since Promised Land.”

    My favorite album is, honestly, Tribe. Q2K was a disappointing mess, but it was after DeGarmo left (I don’t truck with those who blame Tate for DeGarmo leaving – once you realize DeGarmo wrote “Bridge” it becomes quite clear why he left). Tribe was good because DeGarmo came back as a guest (he never officially rejoined), and I think Tate and DeGarmo were good at balancing out each other’s excesses.

    The problem is that Wilton and the rest are all great musicians, but they aren’t as creative as Tate or DeGarmo. They worked really well as support.

    However, Tate was out of control there for awhile. After reading the court documents, I can see why the band felt the need to get rid of him – but at the same time, the rest of the band wasn’t doing much either.

  4. I’ll have to give Tribe another listen. I think I still have it, somewhere.

    I certainly prefer the older styles–the rough, early progressive metal sound of the first couple of albums, and the more refined (and ultimately radio-friendly) progressive metal in the early ’90’s.

  5. Hi Ivan — I’m the guy who wrote that Queensryche article, glad you enjoyed it (and thanks for the link!).
    …as for the “anti-Tate bias”, I’ll be honest, when I first posted that article six months ago, I tried my hardest to stay “fair and balanced” and tried not to show a preference for one side or the other. However, over the course of the past several months I’ve had to update that piece so many times due to Geoff Tate’s constant douche moves (announcing HIS album the same day that the “other” QR announced theirs, the “F.U.” on his album cover, etc.) and other drama (band members leaving “his” Queensryche left and right, the fiasco with Billy Sherwood agreeing to do a last minute remix and then quitting within 48 hours) that it eventually started taking on a slant all by itself without my realizing it. Haha. Tate’s been lashing out every chance he gets while the other band has been very quiet, gentlemanly and “business as usual” about the whole thing. They’ve moved on with Todd LaTorre; Tate can’t seem to move on.
    I’ll still give both albums by both sides a chance. I’ve been a fan since 1984 and I owe them both that much.

  6. I just listened to the samples on Amazon for the new “FU” album.

    Tate sounds great. The rest of the music sounds like a muddled mess. Ugh.

  7. Tribute/cover bands? There are many. Very old dating back as far as Steppenwolf to no brainers like Journey. Bands with 2 versions as of late, within the last 10 years anyway, include LA Guns, Great White and Saxon.

  8. Tate’s project really isn’t even a band. They just put out the filth so he can fight for the band name and/or slander the other Queensryche by creating market confusion. Tate knows he can settle with the band in the lawsuit so he goes by this tactic. At the same time the Queensryche corporation including other original lineup members pickup the tab for his touring expenses and production costs. Plus they get a cut from Tate’s revenue and vice versa with whatever revenue the Latorre Queensryche album makes. Very confusing but you know its the short end of it.

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